Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Mega Man: Powered Up (PSP, 2006)

Today I'm taking a look at something that I've never covered on here before. It's a PSP remake of the very first game in the series, and... it's pretty weird, to say the least. This had tons of potential to start a new franchise, giving us a Mega Man Powered-Up 2 and so on; unfortunately the problems with it likely doomed it to not continue as a series. That or Capcom just lost interest. Who knows with these companies these days.

In any case, this is a very easy game, especially for this series; it can be finished in two hours on a first go and one hour on a repeat run. It's essentially the Kirby's Dream Land of Mega Men. It's fun, though, and that's what matters.




There are basically two different games included here: New Style remixes all of the stages. It's widescreen and while you can see elements of the old stages in terms of enemy placement and level layout, for the most part it's full of newness.

Old Style, on the other hand, gives you the original stage layouts in 4:3. It's more difficult than New Style, but it still has a graphical overhaul and some balance changes so it's nowhere near the difficulty of the original NES game.

In the year 20XX... so, are we officially going by Mega as our hero's name, rather than Rock? Since this game sorta rewrites the canon and all...

"Megaman Megaman!" screeches Roll. 

At first, Mega is just a mere boy-android. After crossing an intro stage with no enemies or weapons or anything, he finds Dr. Light. Turns out robots are on a rampage, and the only way Mega can stop them...

...is to suit up and become Mega MAN.

"NOW YOU'RE A MAYN! MAYN! MAYOMAYOMAYON!" 

It's like a Trump rally!

Meanwhile, Dr. Wily is kidnapping more of Dr. Light's peaceful 'bots and turning them into war machines.

The intro stage ends with a fight against... that giant pogo-cyclops miniboss that pops up a few times in the NES original.

Yeah, that guy. He's easier to beat in the remake since he never really moves towards you. 

The intro stage finally ends, putting us at the stage select; Old Style puts you right here directly. The pre-existing six bosses are still looming large, but now we have two NEW bosses: Time Man and Oil Man. Giving the original a round eight bosses is probably the best thing this remake does. It's about time Mega Man was brought in line with the rest of the series.

Sniper Joe returns, and now he has a giant superdeformed fetus-head.

...much like Mega Man. Yep, it's time to confront the elephant in the room: Mega Man's redesign. I don't really have much of an issue with it personally, but I do have an issue with their "babying up" of an iconic character who wasn't previously a giant blue fetus... when it isn't something their audience asked for. I can see how that'd alienate a lot of fans, and it did.

Wily doors have gotten a makeover, and it isn't for the better. Those shutters are too iconic to mess with.

Bomb Man is always the first boss I fight in any version of the original game, and he's a real punk.

Mega Man speaks sense! Stop being an asshole, Bomb Man!

"Let's see you daaaaance sucka" says Bomb Man as he lobs bombs.

"YOU GOT NOTHIN' ON ME"

Mega Man wins. Bomb Man was 2.

But wait! Bomb Man is still alive, and Dr. Light repairs him. Now I can play as Bomb Man, which is one of the cooler PSP changes. You can get any of the Robot Masters as playable characters in this game, and that's awesome. It'd be more awesome if Mega Man didn't already have all of their abilities, but hey. 

For some reason I didn't get any of the other RMs as playable characters. Not sure what the deal is there. I must have done something differently with Bomb Man. The only thing I can think of is that I took off all his energy with the standard arm cannon. There were other bosses that I defeated with the arm cannon, but on all of those fights I at least used their weaknesses to whittle them down until I ran out. This fight was arm cannon all the way, which must be why I got him as a character.

Guts Man is next. He runs a construction site. No word on if it employs the Uncle Bob T-800.

(That's a Terminator Genisys reference, but no one saw Terminator Genisys)

These platforms were a nightmare in the NES version, and they're still tricky even in this game.

Not sure how to reach that ladder up there. No Rush Coil in this game (or Rush at all), no wall-jumping... there MIGHT be a Magnet Beam, but I wasn't able to find it. (Editor's Note: There is indeed a Magnet Beam in this game, as it turns out. It isn't necessary to complete the game, as I missed it entirely).

Oh, and no sliding. They might as well have given us the slide since they were already gutting the continuity of the series with this game, but it's okay.

Playing on Easy gives you Swiss blocks in strategic positions that make certain areas much easier to traverse. Case in point, the second round of flipping rail-platforms is significantly gimped by the presence of the new blocks. It certainly saves me some time, at least. God bless those Swiss inventors!

Not even sure how I would have made this jump without the blocks, but I guess it's doable. Sometimes the blocks interfere a bit, like here where they prevent me from reaching a heart (one-up).

A smaller version of the pogo-clops appears right before the boss doors. It's still pretty unthreatening because it only jumps up and down.

Guts Man...is running a gentleman's club. That or a posh treehouse club. NO GIRLS ALLOWED!

Guts Man launches blocks while Mega Man hurls bombs! When I was a kid reading Nintendo Power, this fight was my first exposure to "use the weapon of one boss against another boss", and it was intriguing to say the least.

...man, it's hard to get over Mega Man's giant fetus head.

Cut Man is next. He could easily be the first boss you fight in this game since he's as easy as Bomb Man, if not easier. I think his stage is a little more difficult though.

That's because he's... Fighting Robot! Mega Man!

All of the Robot Masters think that they're fighting for good and that our hero is the villain. From their point of view the Jedi are evil!

This fight is super-easy because Cut Man gets knocked on his ass by Mega Man's shots. This wasn't the case in the original game at all. Stand your ground (tm Florida) and fire away.

Elec Man's stage is next, and it's mostly vertical just as things were in the NES original.

 Elec Man is a dandy bishounen. I think he's flirting with Mega Man. Unfortunately for him, Mega Man hasn't gone through puberty yet and has no idea what a flirting is.

Unleashing Cut Man's weapon is the way to go here, as it was before. The Elec Beam is still potent and highly-damaging, so this fight is my biggest test yet. Well, my only test. Guts Man's stage would have still been rough if I hadn't enabled the Swiss Blox.

Ice Man's stage is next, and while the original NES version had a great tune for this stage, the remixed version is cool too. Very icy-sounding.

The later parts of the stage are VERY TRICKY, with some erratic moving platforms over spikes. This might be the toughest of the first eight stages besides Guts Man.

That's what you get for trusting Chuck "The Iceman" Liddell, Mega Man!

This fight isn't hard at all, but he changes up his attack patterns late in the fight to make things potentially dangerous. Elec Beam scorches him, as before.

Of course, after that it's time for Fire Man's stage, home to burning jars that hurl sunglass-wearing fireballs and pass deadly gas.

See the red parts of the floor? Yeah, that isn't floor, that's all insta-death pit. Had me fooled the first time.

 Here's the original game for reference. It's a bit clearer about where you can and can't walk.

Oh, I haven't gone into it much yet, but the bosses don't just have dialogue in this game...they have voiceovers. As you could probably guess, the voiceovers are pretty hokey and terrible. At least the voice acting itself is decent, so I can't bash the game too much. It's something kids can get into.

 It's ice versus fire! Who wins? Ice...in this game, anyway. I always figured fire would have the advantage against ice, while water would have the advantage against fire.

Most of these stages have been over VERY quickly. I struggled a bit with Guts Man's stage but that's about it.

Time for the two new bosses! I'm excited. Unfortunately, while Time Man is a more interesting boss, his stage is bland as hell. Oil Man on the other hand has a pretty good stage.

Oil Man: He's a capitalist enterpreneur with a pointy head. His stage has cool new music.

Cool stage here, very inventive. Fitting because most of this game didn't require any real creativity; they were remaking the pre-existing areas without really taking any major chances. They probably had fun making this stage since it could be entirely new.

Oil Man is a smug bastard who hurls oil globs. The solution is just what you think it is:

Fire Blast! BOOM!

Time (huh huh) for the other new boss. Here's HIS stage theme, for your perusal. Sounds like something from the X series.

Mentioned it earlier, but this stage...is pretty boring. They could have done SO MUCH with it too.

Yep, not a whole lot going on here. Well, here's Oil Man's weapon, the Oil Slider. It fires blobs of oil that create puddles, and you can jump on one to use it as a rad to the max skateboard weapon. Unfortunately Mega Man usually gets damaged in the process, so...uh

 Here's Time Man. He's a real odango-head.

His weapon doesn't stop time like most time-related robot masters. Instead it merely slows time, making it a bit harder for Mega Man to dodge him. I fire back with the Elec Beam, which has a great new look.

With all eight bosses defeated, Dr. Wily makes an appearance. He looks...off. Maybe it's the giant head, or maybe it's the oddly Sigma-like face (which, in this case, is probably a coincidence).

Well, at least his head isn't under-sized, like most of the Suikoden IV cast.


Brrrr.

The first Wily stage is colorful and compelling. It pretty much follows the layout of the NES version, which means...

...hella elec beams and hella spikes en route to...

...a COMBAT robot? That never happens in this world! All of these heavily-armed robots with sharp edges were designed for peaceful purposes, dammit! Oil Man was supposed to pump gas!

The Elec Beam trick doesn't work here. Luckily, Fire Man's weapon is fairly effective. If you play on easy mode, the Yellow Devil doesn't even do the break-apart attack, which makes this battle a snap. 

The next level is the weird water tunnel. This was Wily Stage 3 in the NES version, now it's the second stage. I wonder why. Maybe they realized it was easier than the others and moved it up.

The boss here is that odd bubble machine. I once read an unofficial NES guide that referred to this thing as "Bubble Boy" and said it was the proto-form of Bubble Man from Mega Man 2. I don't know about that, but it's a pain to deal with.

Wily Stage 3...isn't even really a stage, as you quickly encounter the capsule room. It looks like they pretty much completely dropped the second and fourth fortress levels from the NES game, since they moved stage 3 to stage 2 and put a capsule room in instead of another stage after that. Sounds pretty rushed. I preferred the original's way of intermittently dropping the robot masters into the fortress stage layouts.

Get past the capsule room and you fight what I think was the toughest boss in the original game, the Mega Man Clone. While he'd use whatever weapon you were using in the original, in this he has the full run of your weapons and can use whatever whenever. It's still a challenge, and a game over here means doing the capsule room again.

Mega Man Clone...may have a point. Oh My God.

 Get past that and it's onward to a brief stage leading to Wily. I think this is a translation error; pretty sure Dr. Light programmed Mega Man. I guess Wily could have snuck in and given him the same lobotomization that he gave the other robot masters though.

 The Skull Tank is the final boss here, at least on easy mode, and it's... very much a skull. Not a difficult fight at all, and playing the game on normal results in the tank having a second form.

 Yeah okay

Beat the game once on easy and you can play as "Mega Man S"...which is the same character now equipped with the slide from later games. That's cool, I suppose. Still only have Bomb Man unlocked as playable. Weird how Mega Man is two words yet the game refers to the robot masters as one single word. It's inconsistent. In any case, beat the game on normal and you unlock another Mega Man, this one with the slide AND the charged shot. Nice.

At release, this game got totally overshadowed by the considerably better Maverick Hunter X which came out shortly before it, and it's easy to see why. This game doesn't take anything seriously to the point where it's difficult to care, with over-the-top cutesyness and a lot of simplification everywhere you look. Would have liked to see a remake more along the lines of MHX here with some good storytelling. Oh well.



5 comments:

  1. That was a dumb translation mistake. His name is always Rock. Mega and Roll make no sense.

    No Magnet Beam in new mode, so I'm not sure how you get up there. Maybe one of the other characters can, or maybe Oil Man's power has a way to do it, something like that.

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    1. Cut man can wall jump, you just have to make sure you buster-only him.

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  2. I think this game is one of the greatest in the classic series, Its just a shame that people dont like it just because of its style and tone...

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  3. I didn't like both Maverick hunter X and this. I have NO IDEA why they cartoonize/animeize/kiddify all the games in their remakes. NES megaman looked better, SNES megaman X looked better than Maverick too. It seems they lost the charm that they had when they got remade. They don't look as dark as they used to be, they look more childish.

    And the funny thing is this is still NOWHERE NEAR as bad as FF1 and FF2 remake. Dear god does FF1 Dawn of souls looks ugly. Class change before : Tall, manly, cool sprites, simple but awesome graphics.
    New graphics : anime, cartoony, childish, class change = : Same small puny sprite with a couple things changed here and there.

    Even freaking 7th saga box art knew better "

    THIS IS NO ORDINARY RPG :The graphics are eye-popping, breath-taking, stunning and unbelievable, not to mention incredible. This is no hack-and-slash, rip-your-guts-out fighter! This is the future of RPGs, right here in your hands! With music this good, you won't turn the sound off--you'll turn it up!

    No more small elves leading your team! This game contains real, believable figures. You won't be embarrassed to use your own name; you'll be proud. It's just you against the six other characters in search of the 7 Sacred Runes. Whoever finds them... Rules the World. It's that simple, that easy. The only problem is you have some enemies, and I don't mean a few. I mean an army of things you've never seen before ready to raise the hair on the back of your neck and take you out in one swing. This is one powerful RPG. Can you handle it?!

    "

    Even if the game isn't that great the attitude is what counts and damn the attitude isn't present in say Megaman Pussified up­.

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  4. Ahahahaha. Blues sounds exactly like one of those "UGH GAMES MUST BE GRITTY AND MATURE" folks from the early internet days. Boy did that comment take me back. Thanks for the laugh though.

    I mean I can't decide what's my favorite part of that post: The fact he implied the classic series was dark and never had a cutesy aesthetic or the fact he quoted the cringey 90s era attitude marketing from a boxart.

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